‘Saliva only has to make contact with the skin. Rabies doesn’t even need a scratch. If it’s in the bloodstream, it’s too late.’
Mad Dog (1977) is a standout instalment of the third and final series of the BBC’s post-apocalyptic series Survivors. A touchstone in the series’ switch to a tougher, bleaker sensibility, the episode is rightly remembered for its portrayal of rabies and its gripping chase sequences. But it’s also a story offering fascinating insights into the wider human predicament, which dramatize the tension between optimism and cynicism and between altruism and self-interest. Above all, it’s a story that foregrounds the complex relationship between humanity and the natural world in a fictional post-pandemic Britain.